I was introduced to eating vegan at one of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Gratitude a few years back. I will admit, I’m not a vegan (I love dairy too much), I consider myself to be a pescatarian because I eat sushi on occasion. I gave up eating meat when I found out that I was highly allergic to beef, and slightly allergic to chicken. After that I decided to stop eating meat all together; and to be honest I never really missed it. The biggest challenge for me was finding what to eat in its place. There are many benefits to cutting meat out of your diet like weight loss, boosted energy, lower cholesterol, a less chance of developing certain types of cancer, helping the environment, and a better overall sense of wellbeing. When I made the decision to go meat free, I also decided to cut back on processed foods, and skip the frozen food section when I’m in the grocery store.
I try as much as possible to either cook plant-based or when I go out to eat, dine at a vegan restaurant. Luckily for me, living in Los Angeles there are so many amazing vegan restaurants to choose from. But for people that live in other parts of the world, it can be tricky since everything has to be made in your kitchen. I’ve created a list of tasty vegan recipes (from breakfast to dessert) that will convince you that eating plant-based can taste just as delicious (if not more) than what your meat eating friends are consuming. But first, here are some tips on how to start cutting meat from your diet.
-You don’t need to go all in; start out slowly by cutting one type of meat, then move onto the next.
-Since meat is a huge source of iron, you’ll need to find alternatives. Kale, spinach, soy, lentils, and beans are all good sources of iron.
-You’re going to need protein and there are plenty of options to choose from like, quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia seed, hemp seed, rice and beans, hummus and pita, seitan, and peanut butter.
-Beans and lentils are an important part of vegetarian and vegan diet. Learn all the dishes that can be made with them.
-You don’t need to eat dairy to get calcium. Foods like collard greens, kale, broccoli, soy beans, almonds and spinach are great sources.
-Take a vitamin D supplement (especially in the winter).
-Invest in a good cookbook. For vegetarian recipes, I love Everyday Vegetarian: A delicious Guide for Creating More than 150 Meatless Dishes. For vegan dishes, I’m obsessed with Thug Kitchen.